"A big spinning drum thing."
— Jonathan Pearce's enthusiastic but blunt summary of Infernal Contraption

Infernal Contraption was a robot that competed in Series 6-8 of Robot Wars, also entering in the second series of Robot Wars Extreme. It lost in the first round of its three main series appearances, but reached the second round in the Extreme 2 University Challenge and won an untelevised whiteboard match against Turbulence in 2016. Infernal Contraption was also rebuilt for Series 10, where it was an unused reserve.


"Infernal Contraption features a vicious 16kg, 10mm-thick steel drum that spins at 1,000rpm and flips back and forth as the robot accelerates."
Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot
Infernal Contraption S6

Infernal Contraption in Series 6

Infernal Contraption was an invertible and cylindrical robot, armed with a 16 kg vertical spinning drum with four large teeth spinning at 1250rpm, like a larger version of the one used by Tornado, that could get up to speed in three seconds so the machine could attack consecutively without needing to waste time powering up its spinner between blows. It was made up of two independent wheel modules made from sewage pipe and was designed so that the whole body would swing overhead when the robot reversed, making it an axlebot. However, the radio reception of the robot was unreliable, and the robot was generally hard to keep stable.

"As a party trick, the robot can spin on one wheel due to the ‘gyroscopic forces from the weapon.’"
— Official Robot Wars website on Infernal Contraption
Infernal Contraption S7

Infernal Contraption in Series 7

Infernal Contraption S8

Side view of Infernal Contraption in Series 8

For Series 8, the original robot was refurbished with a few updated parts. However, the robot stayed the same for the most part. The wheels now had 1" plastic as its armour over the Lexan used in the previous entries. The multi-coloured tyres and LED lights on the sides of the drum and wheels were a new addition for Series 8 as well, and the robot's weight was reduced from 97kg to 86.65kg by utilising modern internals such as lithium ion phosphate batteries.

"Infernal Contraption's body is made out of a sewage pipe, which doubles as plastic armour. Its wheels are old car tyres."
— Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot
Infernal Contraption Backers

Top view of Infernal Contraption at the time of Series 10

Infernal maidstone2007

Infernal Contraption from Series 10 in November 2017

For Series 10, Infernal Contraption was completely rebuilt, using HARDOX armour, and a thinner 20mm vertical spinning disc in place of the former drum. This disc could reach top speeds of 4800rpm, and was powered by 30V brushless motors. The top and bottom panels of the robot featured the names and faces of the Kickstarter contributors towards the project. In spite of the Kickstarter being successful, the robot did not compete in Series 10 of Robot Wars. Instead, the robot first fought at Extreme Robots Maidstone in November 2017.



Gahra at the time of Series 5

Infernal Contraption is known for having one of the longest names in Robot Wars, which references its violent and mechanical nature. This was not always the case, as the robot was originally named Gahra, using this name at the qualifiers for Series 5. However, after realising that people struggled to pronounce the name Gahra, the name was changed to Infernal Contraption prior to Series 6.

"We changed because nobody could say it properly!"
— Infernal Contraption website on the name change

The TeamEdit

"My first encounter with building fighting robots came at Alstom Gas Turbines in 1999, the year before I came to Imperial College. I was working during my year out as part of the Year in Industry Scheme when an email was sent around appealing for potential roboteers."
— Jonathan Pillai on his introduction to fighting robots

Gahra with Jonathan Pillai and Gary Ewer


The Imperialists in Series 7

Infernal Contraption was entered into the original run of Robot Wars by a team of students and staff from Imperial College London, the college it represented in the University Challenge. In Series 6 and 7, the team were known as The Imperialists in reference to this, although the team used the more simplistic name of Team Infernal Contraption in the reboot, after the team had long graduated. The team represented Cambridge in most of their appearances, but Infernal Contraption represented Washingborough in Lincolnshire during Series 7.

In the original run of Robot Wars, the team captain was Jonathan Pillai, who had previously driven Stinger in Series 3 of Robot Wars. Jonathan Pillai designed the drive platform and weaponry of Infernal Contraption, also leading the build process and occasionally driving the robot in battle. However, the original team captain did not return in Series 8, with Infernal Contraption's main driver Gary Ewer becoming the team captain, and the only member of the team present in all of Infernal Contraption's appearances.

"The only member of the original team, Gary is now Leader of Team Infernal Contraption and driver of IC. Now working at Cambridge Consultants as an Electronic Engineer, he formed the new team for Robot Wars 2016 from within the company."
— Infernal Contraption website on Gary Ewer
Infernal Contraption Team 2016

Infernal Contraption with its team in Series 8

Infernalcontraption gateway

Team Infernal Contraption enter the arena in Series 8

The third teammate of The Imperialists during the original run of the show was Ray Thompson, who assisted with mechanics and transported the robot to filming. The Infernal Contraption website also credits Phil Jones and Amit Choda as untelevised team members. In Series 8, Gary Ewer invited his work colleagues Alex Gee, Douglas Young and Jashan Bhoora to complete the new team.

"A multirotor enthusiast, Alex is the one behind the new radio gear IC is now equipped with, as well the brains behind numerous upgrades in the latest robot."
— Infernal Contraption website on Alex Gee

While teammates Alex Gee and Douglas Young left the team after Series 8 to attend the filming of Series 9 and 10 with their own robot Point Blank, mechanical engineer and magician by hobby Alex Joseph joined the Infernal Contraption team for their appearance at the filming of Series 10, having managed the robot's social media presence up to that point.


Infernal Contraption CAD

CAD of Infernal Contraption

The building of the robot began in January 2001, and the robot cost £3000 to build. The original team captain Jonathan Pillai was a member of the Stinger team in Series 3, and Stinger was an influence on Infernal Contraption's design.

"When I left the Stinger team after my year out, I wanted to build a robot of my own. I wanted to evolve the Stinger concept by implementing an active (powered) weapon."
— Johnathan Pillai on the Infernal Contraption website
Gahra weighing

Gahra being weighed

Infernal Contraption, under the name Gahra, first entered Series 5. It was only finished the day of the qualifiers, when it attended the Wembley Arena live show. Upon being weighed, the team discovered Gahra was 15kg over the weight limit. Gahra was put up against another robot that was over the weight limit. Despite winning the battle, the team failed to qualify.

Qual01 infernal contraption

Gahra at the Series 5 qualifiers

"In the back of our minds we remembered that this was going to be the first time the robot had ever been run - we had not had time to even do the most basic of tests on the robot! ... When given the word, we powered the robot up and attempted to drive it out into the arena. This turned out to be remarkable difficult! As hard as I tried, the robot refused to go in anything remotely like a straight line ... It was then 3-2-1 Activate! and I immediately span the disk up. After a bit of dancing around I managed to get some good hits with the disk, which killed the opposition. We later found out that their removable link fell out. ... Basically we had bent their lifting weapon, and ripped apart the angle brackets that were holding their 5mm Ali armor together. Not bad we thought for a first test! After the fight many people came a speak to us, saying how they thought the robot looked really good. The guy in charge of the house robots even came over, and said that in his opinion, if we could control the robot, we would have a winner. Anyway about a week later we heard from robotwars that we had not qualified for the show."
— Infernal Contraption website on the Series 5 qualifiers[1]
Infernal contraption

Infernal Contraption shortly before Series 6

Within three days after the qualifiers, the team were able to lose the 17kg of weight from the robot. The team then entered Series 6, and faced Double Trouble, GBH 2 and Ripper 2. Ripper 2 had to withdraw before the battle, and in the battle, all three robots survived to the end. All three were given places in the series.

"The battle began. We got a good hit on Double Trouble quite early on, which pierced their armour and damaged their transmission on one side. GBH II had intermittent radio problems, so we hit them a few times, but didn’t want to do them too much damage while they were immobile. Part of our polycarbonate armour split due to being cold formed into a curve, but luckily, no one got in to do any damage. By the end of it all, Double Trouble’s disks had both come off, GBH II had a few gashes, but was otherwise fine, and we were still working, but with superficial damage. We came back down from the control pods, deactivated the robot, and waited for the decision. We were all well pleased when Bill Hobbins, the producer, told us that it was a good fight, so all three robots would be appearing on TV. We were due back in three days, so had the weekend to sort out our armour."
— Infernal Contraption website on the Series 6 qualifiers[2]
InfernalContraption S7

Official Series 7 photo

Infernal Contraption successfully qualified for Series 7 by attending the live qualification tour, although it is unknown which robots Infernal Contraption fought, and whether or not the team won their qualifier battle.

In the reboot era, Infernal Contraption successfully qualified for Series 8 via online applications, although it did not enter Series 9 as team captain Gary Ewer was travelling in New Zealand[3].


A breakdown of Infernal Contraption's Series 10 design (from Gary Ewer)

Much like PP3D the year before it, a Kickstarter campaign was used fund the costs of a completely rebuilt Infernal Contraption in time for Series 10. Rewards included posting a picture of the backers' faces onto the robot, and helping to determine the team's hero shot which ultimately would not be a feature for Series 10 competitors. However, Infernal Contraption's position was awarded only as a reserve, and the robot would eventually be one of only two reserve robots in Series 10 to go unused, alongside Harpy.

"3/5 reserves got used, we were just unlucky. They choose the reserves based on the "best fit" for the fight. We'll be back next time. The producers do really like us and we think we have a good chance of making it. As a note there are only 30 robots competing this series, last series was 40. They invited 35 including reserves, so we know we're on the right track and last season we'd have been in!"
— Alex Joseph

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 6Edit

259 vs InfernalContraption

Infernal Contraption takes early damage from 259

In its debut performance, Infernal Contraption entered Heat E of the Sixth Wars, and faced fellow newcomer Infinity, the experienced Aggrobot 3 and the team's biggest worry, 259. On the day of filming, one of Infernal Contraption's speed controllers stopped working, which had to be replaced shortly before the battle took place.

"259, three numbers that I don't like..."
— Jonathan Pillai learns of his first-round draw
Aggrobot vs Infernal Contraption

Infernal Contraption is trapped by Aggrobot 3

259 vs Infernal Contraption vs Aggrobot 3

Infernal Contraption is chased by 259 while attacking Aggrobot 3

From the beginning of the battle, Infernal Contraption bravely challenged 259, which the team were admittedly fearful of, and chased it from across the arena. However, while approaching 259, Infernal Contraption overturned itself and exposed its back end to the vertical spinner, which threw Infernal Contraption over and tore away its armour to leave the innards exposed. Infernal Contraption collided with Aggrobot 3 in the process, and turned in place to regain its composure before being pushed sideways by Infinity. 259 interrupted this attack, and grazed the wheel of Infernal Contraption before causing more significant damage to Infinity, although Infernal Contraption was still pushed back by a reversing 259. Already left with no active weapon, and shedding part of its tyre, Infernal Contraption was briefly held in place by the wedge of Aggrobot 3, shortly before Infinity drove into the pit and eliminated itself. Following this, Infernal Contraption again backed into 259's disc, and a barge into the arena wall from 259 disabled half of Infernal Contraption's drive, rendering it partially immobile while almost throwing it over the arena wall.

"It seems to me Infernal Contraption have taken damage, and I wonder if we've seen some sort of plexiglass just thrust across the arena there from 259, ripped away from Infernal Contraption! You can see there, some sort of shard has gone from the top of it!"
— Jonathan Pearce notes the earlier damage to Infernal Contraption
259 vs Infernal Contraption

Infernal Contraption is thrown into the arena wall

Infernal Contraption vs 259

Infernal Contraption becomes stuck on the pit

Whilst 259 attacked the loose panel from the back of Infernal Contraption that it had removed earlier in the battle, Aggrobot 3 backed into Infernal Contraption to pressure with its pincers, whilst 259 closed in to strike the tyre of Infernal Contraption. This was followed up by a huge blow, which catapulted Infernal Contraption over Aggrobot 3 and onto the arena wall. 259 then directly hit the side of Infernal Contraption again to throw it onto the lip of the arena wall, threatening to throw Infernal Contraption out completely, and then used its disc to hit the exposed innards of Infernal Contraption while also knocking it into the CPZ where Sir Killalot waited. Sir Killalot swerved Infernal Contraption back into the arena, but 259 smashed into the exposed back end of Infernal Contraption to cause further damage. Surprisingly, Infernal Contraption still had motion to one tyre, but could only twist itself onto the edge of the pit, where the previously pitted Infinity stopped it from falling in completely. Nevertheless, a partially submerged Infernal Contraption had no chance of escape, and Refbot counted it out to officially render it immobile.

"Infernal Contraption is feeling the pain, and there's poor old Infinity down in the pit, and Infernal Contraption wants to get in there with it! Go on, please, move up, budge up, budge up! I wanna get in there as well!"
— Jonathan Pearce

'Cease' was called immediately afterwards, and Infernal Contraption was eliminated from the Sixth Wars in the first round, suffering major damage in the process.

Philippa Forrester: "That's nasty, now who did the most of this damage?"
Jonathan Pillai: "Well it was 259, I said I was afraid of those numbers, and my fear was justified!"
— Philippa Forrester inspects the destroyed back end of Infernal Contraption

Extreme 2Edit

During the second series of Extreme, Infernal Contraption entered the University Challenge, where it represented the Imperial College, in London. In the first round, it faced C.V. and the experienced Behemoth.

"The spinning drum weapon gets up to speed in three seconds, so they don't have to wait between attacks for it to recover, but the radio reception I fear is questionable!"
— Jonathan Pearce on the strengths and weaknesses of Infernal Contraption
Infernal Contraption vs Behemoth

Infernal Contraption is pushed back by Behemoth

Infernal Contraption vs CV

Infernal Contraption attacks C.V. in celebration

Infernal Contraption was charged immediately by Behemoth, in an effort to nullify its spinning drum, which knocked Infernal Contraption from the floor briefly. Nevertheless, Infernal Contraption was able to turn its drum into the side of Behemoth, and threw itself over from the power of its weapon while riding up Behemoth's scoop. After a second head-on collision between both robots, Behemoth found the back end of Infernal Contraption and lifted it up using its scoop. Infernal Contraption then reversed into C.V. which was subsequently thrown over by Behemoth. Infernal Contraption stood back as Behemoth voluntarily righted C.V., and then attempted to bring its drum into play, but was largely ignored by Behemoth which bulldozed C.V. into the CPZ. However, after C.V. landed an axe blow on the front of Behemoth, the favoured Behemoth retreated and suddenly ground to a halt in the centre of the arena, as a result of its removable link splitting apart. Infernal Contraption closed in to hit the scoop of the immobile Behemoth, withstanding a mild axe blow from C.V. while it continued to investigate its unexpectedly beaten foe. Behemoth was counted out by Refbot to secure the victory for Infernal Contraption and C.V., with Infernal Contraption celebrating this win by hitting C.V. with its drum to throw C.V. up into the air, and even attacked Sir Killalot before 'cease' was called.

Philippa Forrester: "How fast does this disc spin?"
Jonathan Pillai: "About 1,250rpm."
Philippa Forrester: "So actually, compared to some of them, not that fast?"
Jonathan Pillai: "No, it's not that fast, it's not that heavy, but it does accelerate very quickly."
— Jonathan Pillai on the advantages of his spinning drum

In the second round, Infernal Contraption faced Infinity in a reprise of their Series 6 encounter, where both robots lost to 259 and Aggrobot 3.

Infinity vs InfernalContraption

Infernal Contraption is charged across the arena by Infinity

Infinity vs Infernal Contraption

Infernal Contraption is pushed into Sgt. Bash by Infinity

Infernal Contraption struggled to assert itself at the beginning of the battle, turning itself over when trying to attack Infinity, and only managed to back into its opponent, also bringing itself off the arena floor through the gyroscopic forces of its vertical spinner as it continued to miss its target. Through these attacks, Infernal Contraption backed onto the pincers of Infinity, which proceeded to ram it into the arena wall fiercely. Infernal Contraption attempted to swing its drum into Infinity, but it was again rammed into an angle grinder, before being trapped between Sgt. Bash and Infinity. Infernal Contraption used this time to grind at the front of Infinity, but caused no noticeable damage, and was pressed against the arena wall by the combined pair.

"Clutched between the claws of Infinity and the flamethrower of Sgt. Bash, and Infernal Contraption has to do something here, and quick!"
— Jonathan Pearce
Infernal Contraption vs Sgt Bash

Infernal Contraption rips out Sgt. Bash's removable link

Infernal Contraption vs Infinity

Infernal Contraption bends Infinity's claw

Breaking free from Sgt. Bash, Infernal Contraption was caught between the pincers of Infinity again, and was corralled into the front arena wall, also being overturned in the process. Over the course of being pushed, Infernal Contraption managed to bend one of Infinity's pincers, but it was bundled into another empty CPZ by Infinity, where Sgt. Bash blocked its escape. However, Infernal Contraption managed to strike the back end of Sgt. Bash with its drum spinner, and pulled out the House Robot's removable link, immobilising Sgt. Bash in its own self-defence. Retreating to the centre of the arena, Infernal Contraption then landed its most significant blow on Infinity, visibly buckling its already damaged claw upwards to fully disable the weaponry.

"Well they spun, and they got away from each other there... has part of that Infinity weaponry been buckled there, it has! Buckled and bent!"
— Jonathan Pearce notes the damage caused by Infernal Contraption
InfernalContraption vs Infinity

Infernal Contraption pins Infinity against the arena wall

Infinity vs IC

Infernal Contraption and Infinity duel over a flame jet. Note the belt on the arena floor

Despite this damaging blow, Infernal Contraption was pushed back into the same CPZ where Sgt. Bash still laid dormant. Infernal Contraption brought its drum onto Infinity's armour and wheels, but still caused no real damage, and Sir Killalot closed in to trap both machines. Sir Killalot chose to pick up Infinity, with Infernal Contraption also slashing at Sir Killalot's breastplate. When Sir Killalot dropped Infinity, Infernal Contraption wedged under its opponent's broken claw using its tyres, and pressed it against the arena side wall, which prompted Sir Killalot to close in again and carry Infinity to the centre of the arena, spinning it in place before dropping the Welsh machine. Infernal Contraption chased after Infinity and the two duelled over a flame jet, with a belt falling to the arena floor, dragged by Infinity.

"Spinning madly, Infernal Contraption, but going nowhere, a little bit like a student coming out of the student union on a Friday night!"
— Jonathan Pearce
Sir Killalot vs Infernal Contraption

Infernal Contraption is pressed in a CPZ by Sir Killalot

Infinity vs Infernal

Infernal Contraption is collected by Infinity in the closing seconds

It was now clear that Infernal Contraption's drum spinner was no longer functioning. Turning itself over repeatedly, Infernal Contraption was controlled around the arena and pressed against the immobile Sgt. Bash, also causing it to drive into the arena wall. Infinity kept Infernal Contraption in the CPZ, and then pursued it across the arena, into Sir Killalot, which trapped Infernal Contraption in the CPZ. Infernal Contraption was very slow in escaping, and bumped into the angle grinder on its exit, which allowed Infinity to drive under it and pull Infernal Contraption backwards using its loosely attached claws, until the battle ended.

"There's nothing lazy and layabout about these students! It's up and at 'em! And in the corner and the CPZ, Infernal Contraption could get a Sir Killalot slam any moment! Get out, get out! Wake up! Get out of bed! I know you probably haven't heard that too often in your student lives, but I'm telling you to do it now!"
— Jonathan Pearce on Infernal Contraption's slow escape near the end of the fight

The Judges were required to choose between Infernal Contraption and Infinity, in a battle that Craig Charles and the competing teams deemed to be very close, but the Judges ruled in favour of Infinity. As a result, Infernal Contraption was eliminated from the University Challenge in the second round.

Craig Charles: "How do you think the Judges split you up then? What do you think they went on?"
Jonathan Pillai: "Well, I think they had a dartboard with Infinity there, Infernal Contraption there! It's fair, because they have balanced darts."
— The teams agree on a close decision

Series 7Edit

Competing in Heat K, Infernal Contraption went up against two newcomers, Jabber and Mantis, in addition to the twelfth seed Bulldog Breed, in the first round of the Seventh Wars.

"Infernal to eternal bot damnation, I fear!"
— Jonathan Pearce, with low faith in Infernal Contraption
Bulldog breed vs infernal contraption

Bulldog Breed charges Infernal Contraption

Bulldog Breed vs Infernal Contraption

Infernal Contraption barely stays in the arena

Infernal Contraption started the battle near to a CPZ, and landed the first blow of the battle, charging in the side of Jabber to throw it up from the arena floor. When both robots collided again, Infernal Contraption was overturned, and Bulldog Breed charged past it, causing Infernal Contraption's drum to tear up the arena floor. Infernal Contraption turned in place to avoid Bulldog Breed, but kept bringing its tyres off the floor due to the gyroscopic forces of the weapon, and Bulldog Breed caught Infernal Contraption from behind, driving it into an empty CPZ to throw Infernal Contraption onto the top of the arena wall. Although it stayed inside the arena, Infernal Contraption was unable to drive out of the CPZ, allowing Bulldog Breed to close in once again, and threw it high off the floor. However, in the process, Infernal Contraption twisted the frame of Bulldog Breed by landing on it weapon-first. The two machines were separated by Sgt. Bash, which Infernal Contraption briefly struck, before running straight into the back of Refbot to turn itself over. Infernal Contraption was absent from the action for a while, before returning to the other three competing machines, and delivered a blow to the side of Mantis without causing major damage.

"Infernal Contraption running every which way, but loose at the moment!"
— Jonathan Pearce, as Infernal Contraption is overturned by Bulldog Breed and Mantis
Mantis vs Infernal Contraption

Infernal Contraption is attacked by Bulldog Breed and Mantis

Infernal Contraption vs Bulldog Breed

Infernal Contraption lands a late hit on Bulldog Breed

With Mantis finally releasing Jabber, after carrying it around for the past duration of the battle, Infernal Contraption was tipped up by a combined attack from Bulldog Breed and Mantis. Infernal Contraption briefly collided with Jabber, and used its drum to attack the front of Sgt. Bash, but failed to attack Mantis and Bulldog Breed despite drawing near to them. At this stage, loose mesh fell out of Bulldog Breed, which threatened the drum spinner of Infernal Contraption as a potential entanglement device, with Infernal Contraption instead attacking Mantis. Infernal Contraption was pushed back by Bulldog Breed, which was still trailing mesh behind it, as Infernal Contraption attacked Mantis and Bulldog Breed again without causing visible damage, before 'cease' was called at the end of the five-minute bout.

The judges were required to choose a victor out of all four active machines, and although Bulldog Breed's mesh was deemed to be illegal, with particular respect to its potential effect on the spinner of Infernal Contraption, the judges offered the seeded machine the benefit of the doubt, and declared Bulldog Breed and Mantis to be the victors. Therefore, Infernal Contraption was eliminated from the main competition in the first round, to some disagreement of The Imperialists.

"...we inflicted major damage on Bulldog Breed, on inspection in the pits we had twisted their chassis by more than 10mm all of their wheels were not in contact with the ground and they had to work very hard to be ready for the next round..."
— Ray Thompson

Infernal Contraption also took part in the Battle of the Spinners, aired as part of Heat C of Series 7, prior to its main series appearance. In the one-off battle, Infernal Contraption fought the full-body drum spinner of Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit, and the dual discs of Shredder Evolution.

Jayne Middlemiss: "Who do you fancy your chances with?"
Jonathan Pillai: "Well, we were all thinking of having a go at the House Robots, actually..."
— Unrealised plans from Infernal Contraption
Infernal Contraption vs Barber-Ous II'n a Bit

Infernal Contraption is hit by Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit

Infernal Contraption rim

Shredder Evolution cuts a wheel rim from Infernal Contraption

Infernal Contraption headed straight towards Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit, using its drum spinner to land a blow on the wheel of its opponent. However, Infernal Contraption became trapped between Shredder Evolution and Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit, with both robots landing a hit on Infernal Contraption to cause damage. The now-inverted Infernal Contraption turned itself back over, but was struck by Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit, when Shredder Evolution closed in to rip a rim away from Infernal Contraption's wheel, leaving it on the arena floor. Infernal Contraption came under fire again, as Shredder Evolution cut away at it, while pushing it into the reach of Mr. Psycho, before Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit interrupted the sequence by smashing into the rear of Shredder Evolution. Infernal Contraption was briefly motionless, and only moved further into Mr. Psycho's CPZ in its effort to escape, which allowed both competing robots to come in for an attack on Infernal Contraption. Oddly, Mr. Psycho wound up defending Infernal Contraption, hitting Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit with his hammer, before swinging it into the pit.

"The tyres, shredded, or I think it's actually the outside rim of Infernal Contraption!"
— Jonathan Pearce
Battle of the spinners

Shredder Evolution and Infernal Contraption are left without weaponry

Mr Psycho vs Infernal Contraption

Infernal Contraption is dropped into the pit by Mr. Psycho

Infernal Contraption finally escaped the CPZ, although its damaged tyre was still hindering its movement, with the drum spinner also now motionless, although Shredder Evolution's discs had similarly stopped working. As the two weaponless machines collided, Infernal Contraption's damaged tyre eventually stopped working altogether, and Infernal Contraption could only turn in circles whilst Shredder Evolution gradually edged it into an empty CPZ. Refbot counted Infernal Contraption out whilst it was in the CPZ, and Mr. Psycho closed in to grab Infernal Contraption with his claw, holding it aloft whilst Infernal Contraption's main body swung back and forth, briefly swinging into Mr. Psycho's face to rattle the House Robot's head. Mr. Psycho held Infernal Contraption over the flame pit to burn its internals, and then held it over the open pit, dropping Infernal Contraption from a great height and causing it to land on top of Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit, in the pit. This left Shredder Evolution as the winner.

"The motors won't like that, and neither will the rubber tyres! And it is a tired-looking Infernal Contraption dumped in the pit."
— Jonathan Pearce, as Infernal Contraption is burnt and pitted

Series 8Edit

Over twelve years after its last appearance, Infernal Contraption competed in Heat 5 of Series 8, where it faced three live circuit veterans Beast, Gabriel and Crazy Coupe 88 in its first round melee.

"A big spinning disc, a big spinning drum thing!"
— Gary Ewer describes his weapon, referencing a description by Jonathan Pearce in Series 6
Gabriel hits infernal contraption

The tyre of Infernal Contraption is axed by Gabriel

Infernal Contraption gyrodance

Infernal Contraption throws itself around aimlessly

Infernal Contraption immediately started rotating its drum, but overturned itself on a drive, and was caught by Beast, which attempted to flip Infernal Contraption but instead shaved sparks off its armour with a grazing flip. Whilst Gabriel and Crazy Coupe 88 came into contact, Infernal Contraption was left alone somewhat, until Gabriel closed in and struck its tyre. Infernal Contraption offered no response, bringing itself off the floor through its gyroscopic forces, and then repeatedly overturned itself near the arena wall whilst Beast flipped Crazy Coupe 88, also driving its drum directly into the arena wall. Attempting to rejoin the fray, Infernal Contraption drove over the closed pit, but its drum spinner had now ground to a halt, leaving it with no offensive output as it drove into the wheel of Gabriel, and it was rammed by Beast.

"Good speed across the arena floor by Infernal Contraption. It's the lightest robot out there by some thirteen kilos, that is a worry."
— Jonathan Pearce
Beast vs Infernal Contraption

Infernal Contraption is forced onto the flame pit

Infernal contraption fall into the pit

Infernal Contraption tumbles into the pit

At this stage, Crazy Coupe 88 had been immobilised by Dead Metal, and Gabriel landed a second hit on Infernal Contraption. Beast then fired its flipper in front of Infernal Contraption, not truly gaining a purchase, but Infernal Contraption was nevertheless toppled over its own drum, turning over while landing atop the flame pit, and was slow to escape from here. Upon driving away from the flame pit, Infernal Contraption pressed the Arena Tyre to open the pit. Straight afterwards, Infernal Contraption drove onto the wedge of Beast, but Beast turned around in place, and Infernal Contraption was swung off the slope and it tumbled directly into the pit, which it had only just opened. As a result, Infernal Contraption was once again eliminated in the first round.

"They had the brawn, they said they had the brains, yeah, really? Out go Infernal Contraption!"
— Jonathan Pearce

To entertain the crowd in untelevised battles, Infernal Contraption competed in two whiteboard matches during the filming of the Grand Final. In the first, it faced Eruption.

"Infernal Contraption is a very old machine that had been renovated for the 2016 series, it is not something we considered to be a great threat but the team had done a fantastic job and it ended up giving us a very good fight!"
— Eruption - Robot Wars Facebook page on the fight between Eruption and Infernal Contraption[4]
Eruption vs Infernal Contraption

Infernal Contraption's whiteboard match with Eruption

Due to Infernal Contraption's high ground clearance, Eruption was capable of repeatedly getting underneath, to throw Infernal Contraption into the plexiglass walls repeatedly. Infernal Contraption responded, and landed some hits, denting the RAEX front plate of Eruption, which also became stuck on the flame pit. However, Infernal Contraption lost the link that powered its spinner, and was thrown around the arena again, until eventually the power link for its drive system detached, immobilising it. Infernal Contraption lost the battle, but a clip of the fight is used in the opening sequence of the series.

"Due credit to the team, for such an old machine it stood up to a huge number of impacts after being flipped and it was only the links that let them down in the end!"
— Eruption - Robot Wars Facebook page on the fight between Eruption and Infernal Contraption[5]

Infernal Contraption also fought Turbulence, the winner of the pilot episode, in its second whiteboard battle. Infernal Contraption won this battle within a short amount of time, after the pressure of Infernal Contraption's spinning drum caused Turbulence's removable link to fall out upon contact, awarding the win by knockout to Infernal Contraption. This was Infernal Contraption's final battle in Robot Wars, after it completed the filming of Series 10 as an unused reserve.


Series 6
The Sixth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat E, Round 1 vs. 259, Aggrobot 3, Infinity Eliminated
Extreme Series 2
University Challenge
Round 2
Round 1 vs. Behemoth, C.V. Qualified
Round 2 vs. Infinity Lost
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat K, Round 1 vs. Bulldog Breed (12), Jabber, Mantis Eliminated
Special Events
Battle of the Spinners
Battle of the Spinners vs. Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit, Shredder Evolution Lost
Series 8
Series 8 - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat 5, Group Battle vs. Crazy Coupe 88, Gabriel, Beast Eliminated
Whiteboard Matches
Head-to-Head vs. Eruption Lost
Head-to-Head vs. Turbulence Won


  • Wins: 1
  • Losses: 5

NOTE: Whiteboard matches are not included

Series RecordEdit

  • Infernal Contraption, front view (Series 6)
  • Damage received from 259 (Series 6)
  • Official photo (Extreme 2)
  • Infernal Contraption in the pits (Extreme 2)
  • Infernal Contraption in the arena (Series 7)
  • A CAD of Infernal Contraption used in a 2003 advertisement for SolidWorks
  • Infernal Contraption's weapons test (Series 8)
  • Infernal Contraption during upgrades (Series 8)
  • Infernal Contraption in the pits (Series 8)
  • Infernal Contraption is taken to the arena (Series 8)
  • Infernal Contraption in the arena (Series 8)
Main Series Infernal Contraption Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Did not enter
The Fourth Wars Did not enter
The Fifth Wars Failed to qualify as Gahra
The Sixth Wars Heat, Round 1
The Seventh Wars Heat, Round 1
Series 8 Heat, Round 1
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Unused reserve
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Did not enter
Series 2 University Challenge, Round 2
  • NOTE 1: Jonathan Pillai entered Series 3 with Stinger
  • NOTE 2: Gary Ewer failed to qualify for Series 4 with The Necromancer
  • NOTE 3: Alex Gee and Douglas Young qualified for Series 9 and 10 with Point Blank, which ultimately withdrew from both series

Outside Robot WarsEdit

After the cancellation of Robot Wars, Infernal Contraption retired as a display piece in the Undergraduate Electronic Engineering Lab at Imperial College London, the college that Infernal Contraption represented in the University Challenge episode. It remained there for eight years, before being brought back out of retirement.

In April 2017, Team Infernal Contraption launched their Kickstarter campaign, which raised £1090 to fund Infernal Contraption prior to Series 10.

  • Infernal Contraption emits smoke at Extreme Robots
  • Infernal Contraption at Extreme Robots Maidstone
  • Infernal Contraption battles 2point0 in 2018

The version of Infernal Contraption that tried to qualify for Series 10 of Robot Wars made an appearance at the Extreme Robots event at Maidstone in November 2017 when it was finally allowed to use its spinner. It fell in the first round of the competition against Tauron and Gabriel after its disc got jammed up by Gabriel's fitted entanglement device. It then fought in whiteboard fights, first in a three-way melee against Tauron and Cyclone where it won after its opponents became immobilised. Next it was intended to enter another three-way melee against Iron-Awe 6 and Harpy, but its weapon motor went up in smoke and Infernal Contraption withdrew from the fight. It took part in a four-way melee against Ripper, Harpy and Expulsion fitted with the old spinning drum where it performed decently, landing a few hits on the other robots until it fell into the pit.

Infernal Contraption found more success at the Manchester Extreme Robots event in April 2018, where Infernal Contraption used its spinner to damage 2point0, before it was knocked out of the competition in the second round in a damaging loss to Donald Thump.



The panels with various backers' faces. Note that Jonathan Pearce's face can be seen on the second panel on the top right.

  • During the Kickstarter Campaign, several users on Reddit worked together to get Jonathan Pearce's face on the side of Infernal Contraption. It was successful, and his face was placed on one of the panels under the name r/robotwars.
  • Infernal Contraption was the only axlebot to appear in the Seventh Wars.
  • Infernal Contraption's working title before Gahra was Factor X.
  • Although Infernal Contraption's VT would go unused on television in its entirety, various clips from it were used in the opening sequences of Series 8.

External LinksEdit


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